Ninety-four million Euros. That’s how much Real Madrid had to cough up to convince Manchester United winger Crisitano Ronaldo to switch clubs.
“After Manchester and maybe the Milan AC, Real Madrid is the only other club a first class player like Ronaldo could possibly consider” said Rainer Bonhof, former German national team player and vice-president of Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Portuguese “Ballon d’Or” (a top football prize awarded by European sports journalists) is likely to begin playing under Madrid’s colours from next season, joining fellow Brazilian and former Milan AC player Kaka, who was recruited earlier this week by Real Madrid for 65 million Euros.
Former Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who headed the club during its superstar years, seems determined to make a spectacular comeback.
In 2001, he plucked Zinedine Zidane from Turin’s Juventus for the whopping sum of 73 million euros.
“Real Madrid aims to hire the world’s best players for each post,” he said at the time.
Are players worth the money?
How can Real Madrid be certain such a massive investment is worthwhile? The answer, of course, is that it can’t.
“I can’t believe any player is worth so much money”, says Rainer Bonhof. “Real’s managers are obviously counting on returns from television rights, media events and merchandising, but it’s going to be hard to cover the entire transfer cost.”
The return on investment depends a lot on Ronaldo’s performance on the field – which is entirely in the hands of fate. Although the player’s talent is undeniable, it doesn’t always benefit his team.
“He’ll be moving closer to his hometown and I think he’ll adapt fast,” claims Bonhof, adding, however, that Ronaldo “needs to be more of a team player”.
The Real Madrid has paid for some of the most expensive transfers in all time, and Ronaldo’s price tag has broken a new record.
But it’s still not enough for the seemilngly unstoppable Florentino Perez. There are persistent rumors concerning the club’s acquisition of French midfielder Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), and Spanish striker David Villa (Valencia).
The Bavarian club is reported to have asked for more than 50 million euros for Ribéry, and Valencia up to 37 million. If Real Madrid accepts, it will have spent over 200 million Euros to build next season’s dream team.